Islands of SW Thailand – Part 1

Life on an island

Life on an island

It’s been quite a while since the last post but that’s because we’ve just spent seven  weeks on an idyllic island and really, no matter how much we enjoyed it here, there’s only so much you can write about a small island without repeating yourself, re-using the same adjectives and posting similar pictures – which I’ll probably end up doing anyway😀
So, here goes …..

With heavy hearts we left Laos (Crikey, that seems like a long, long time ago) and flew to Krabi via Bangkok.  In the past when we’ve stayed in Ao Nang (a district of Krabi), it’s always been off season, so it came as a bit of a shock to see how crowded and, not to put too fine a point on it, how awful it was during the height of the season, at the beginning of January.

When we first started coming here, seven years ago, there were still a lot of local places around. In the mean time these have had to make way for huge hotels and apartments, bars and Western style restaurants. In itself not a bad thing, just not our cup-of-tea.

View from Ibis Ao Nang

Scenically Ao Nang is still a beautiful place (view from our balcony)

If we’d had a choice, we would have left immediately. However, as we were heading off to some small islands in the Andaman Sea where there are no ATMs and credit cards are not accepted, we had to stay in order to stock up on cash (repeated withdrawals from ATMs).

After five days we were ready to leave.  A two hour drive to Hat Yao Pier, a thirty minute long-boat  ride and we arrived in paradise.

Ko Libong is one of the bigger Thai islands in the Andaman Sea, but also one of the least visited.  The beaches are nearly always empty, the “resorts” (all three of them – a fourth, more upmarket one has just opened) are pretty basic. There’s not a lot to do here except explore the island, swim, read, eat, drink and generally doss around. Not something we have too much of a problem with!

We moved into our little beach hut, unpacked our meagre belongings and discovered that even paradise has its downside.  The bed looked comfortable enough but the mattress was so hard, we might as well be sleeping on floorboards and the pillows could be compared to rocks. After a couple of nights of agony and bruises we were nearly ready to give up and move on but, because everything else was soooo perfect we persevered and now, all those weeks later, we’re pretty much accustomed to it though it’s never going to be comfortable.  There’s probably nowhere we can’t sleep after this – What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!

The inhabitants of the island are mainly Muslim earning their livelihoods by fishing:

and harvesting latex from rubber trees:

Bananas, coconuts, aubergines and papaya grow wild all over the place.  Trained baboons collect the coconuts from the incredibly tall trees.  A coconut dropping from these heights could easily kill a person, so it’s wise to avoid them during windy weather!

We’re living a very healthy lifestyle.  In bed by 10pm, up by 7am and a diet of fruit, rice and fresh fish which the local restaurant prepares to perfection:

One of the advertised attractions for coming to Ko Libong is “dugong viewing” – a dugong is similar to a manatee, but not.

Dugong-Swimming-300x171

Dugong (as not seen by us)

We spoke to many people who’d undertaken dugong trips but met no-one who’d actually seen one. So, determined to find this elusive creature we set off on a very hot but very interesting walk.

Apparently, the best place to see them is at “Point Dugongs” – which makes sense. We expected to end up on a beach, but instead had to make our way up a mountain, through caves, climb steep ladders and pull ourselves up on ropes. We finally reached the summit and a platform with great views of the surrounding area and the sea but unfortunately, not a dugong in sight!

This was where we ended up:

dugong point

Spending so long on an island, we soon started running out of the bare necessities like bug spray, mosquito repellant and sun tan lotion.  After depleting the supplies in  our local shop we had to start wandering further afield – We refuse to hire mopeds or take tuk tuks because walking is currently the only real exercise we get – Our walks took us through many of the surrounding villages and we did eventually get everything except the sun tan lotion, probably because the locals don’t have a great use for it 😀. Fortunately we met a couple who had reached the end of their holiday and gave us their leftovers.

Initially we’d only intended to stay a couple of weeks, but really life doesn’t get much better than this and before we knew it, we’ve been here seven weeks  and it’s time to pull out our collective fingers and decide what to do next.

Our two month visa has nearly expired so, via long-boat we’re heading south to another island – Ko Sukorn – for a few days.  From there we can get to Hat Yai International airport (long-boat and car) from where  we’ll fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for one day, before returning to Thailand on a thirty day visa-on-arrival. Boy, are we looking forward to a comfortable bed!

We’re going to miss being woken by the sound of the waves, squirrels crashing around on our corrugated roof, the strange bird that starts screaming at 5 am every morning, the laughing miner birds and the  Muezzin calling the community to prayer  but there’s no doubt that we’ll be back.

Finishing on a solemn note – A grim reminder of how quickly paradise can become undone.

10 thoughts on “Islands of SW Thailand – Part 1

  1. Hans (en Hanny)

    Fantastic! That really looks like a place we could spend a long time too! Funny that one should find a rare fish on the top of a mountain… Have a good time when back in Thailand again!

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  2. Thierry

    Dear Both,
    Pictures of the prawns look great, I bet the beer went well with it..no Gin tonic on this island?
    I just had a chat with Sam who was travelling with his wife Sue in Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam…he was enthusiastic.
    Keep sending dream feed-back to us, it helps ..
    🙂

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    1. Adrienne & Dave Post author

      No G&T here, but in a few days we’ll be in Hat Yai and then KL – The wine and G&Ts will be flowing🍷🍸

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  3. Christina und Stephan

    Es ist traumhaft die Bilder zu sehen und zu wissen wie schönen die Insel ist. Da wir selbst dort waren und euch kennen gelernt haben. Wir wünschen euch noch eine gute Zeit.

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    1. Adrienne & Dave Post author

      Danke! Unsere neue Nachbarn sind nicht so nett 🙂- Euch auch viel Spass noch!

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  4. Pingback: Islands of SW Thailand – Part 2 | Permanent Tourists

  5. Pingback: January in Thailand | Permanent Tourists

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